August 17, 2012

New Mexico – “The Land of Enchantment”

 

Just the Facts…

 

bird – Roadrunner
flower – Yucca flower
tree – Pinyon Pine
capital – Sante Fe
union -47th on January 6, 1912
population – about 2 million

 

The Basics 

New Mexico was owned by both Spain and Mexico before it became part of America.  It is in between Arizona and Texas, just south of Colorado.  Sante Fe was originally a Spanish colony that was founded in 1608!

Some people consider New Mexico to be part of the Mountain states.  Most of northern New Mexico has mountain ranges and forests – in fact, the southern Rockies are in New Mexico.  As you get farther south, the land flattens out until it is desert near the border with Mexico.

New Mexico has a high population of both Native American and Hispanic people, which has influenced its culture over the years.  In fact, almost one-half of the population has a Hispanic heritage.  The Navajo and Pueblo tribes are the biggest Native American populations in New Mexico.

 

Its Claim to Fame

New Mexico is home to ancient cliff dwellings – they are cities carved into the sides of mountains and within caves by Native Americans.  The Pueblo people lived in these cities long ago.  The most famous is probably the Gila Cliff Dwellings, which is a National Park.

The Sante Fe Trail linked the southwest to the eastern part of America in the 19th Century.  It was a popular trade route before railroads made it west.  It was also the path many people took when heading to the western frontier.

 

What Makes it Tick

The federal government – New Mexico is home to three air force base, a missile testing facility and two federal research centers.  The most famous of all these government facilities is the Los Alamos National Laboratory.  Los Alamos was originally created for one main purpose – to develop a bomb that could end World War II.  And, it succeeded.  After that, Los Alamos directed its attention to the Cold War and America’s arms race with Russia.  Now, it is one of the biggest science centers in the world.   In fact, the scientists at Los Alamos discovered the existence of ice on the moon!

For part of its history, New Mexico was officially a bilingual state – the original state constitution required that all laws be published in both Spanish and English.  Now, the state is required to provide public education in both Spanish and English.  In addition, the official state song is bilingual – both the English and Spanish versions were approved by the state legislature!  New Mexico’s state sone is “New Mexico – Mi Lindo Nuevo Mexico.”

 

If You Visited

If you visited New Mexico, you might tour Carlsbad Caverns.  It is a national park in the southeastern part of the state.  There are over 100 caves in the park.  Carlsbad Cavern is the biggest cave and known for its stalagtites, which are limestone formations that hang down from the ceiling.  Over 20 of the rooms within the Cavern have been named by various explorers – the Big Room, Bottomless Pit, Fairyland, Kings Palace, and Queen’s Chamber are just a few!   The biggest part of the Cavern is over 200 feet high!

Or, you could ride one of New Mexico’s historic railroads.  Take a tour on the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad through the Cumbres Pass.  It is the highest railroad in America, traveling up to 10,000 feet through the mountains.  It has changed very little since it was built in 1880 – the engine still runs on steam that is created by coal!

 

Want to Know More? 

Check our New Mexico state scrapbook for an industry map, state symbols and information we received from the Governor and Board of Tourism.

Do you live in New Mexico? Or, maybe you have visited New Mexico?  We want to hear from you!!  Post a comment at the end of this page.

  • What is your very favorite thing about New Mexico?
  • What is your favorite thing to eat?
  • What is your favorite thing to do?
  • What other special or unique facts do you want to share about your home state?

Do you have any photos of New Mexico to share? Email them to: info@grandtourkids.com. Or, post them to our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/GrandTourKids

Our tour includes just a few things that are interesting and special about New Mexico.  Visit these websites to learn more:

http://www.newmexico.org/

http://www.cumbrestoltec.com/

http://www.nps.gov/gicl/index.htm

http://www.nps.gov/cave/index.htm